GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. â€”
The 53-year-old woman, who is also a veteran private school counselor, was alone at the time of the Wednesday morning attack. She lives on East Mount Tabor Circle in Duluth.
The woman was getting out of the shower when she was met by a strange man with a kitchen knife, police said. They said there was a struggle in the bathroom, and she fell in the tub. Police later identified the man as Israel Perez Puentes, a Cuban national who lived in Alpharetta.
"The male was armed with a kitchen knife, a struggle ensued between the two of them. She fell in the bathtub injuring herself," Gwinnett police spokesman Edwin Ritter said.
The woman tried to fight the man off with a shower a rod, and he forced her into her bedroom, police said. They said she told her attacker she had money in the room. But she grabbed a .22-caliber handgun and shot the man nine times, police said.
Police said the man ran out of a back door and collapsed in the yard. He later died at the Gwinnett Medical Center. The victim, who was injured in the scuffle, was also taken to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Police have not released her name.
Police told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh they don't know why the woman was targeted.
"He may have seen her somewhere and he identified her as being a potential victim and he basically stalked her until he found the right moment to act on it," said Ritter.
"Our department is looking into any other cases around metro atlanta area as well as our jurisdiction to see if he may be involved with any other sexual assaults that may have occurred."
Dan Tucker, a friend and neighbor, said he was amazed at how the victim defended herself against the armed intruder.
"She's smart, she's witty and obviously well prepared," Tucker said.
Ritter said the shooting investigation was ongoing but defended the victim, saying the shooting appeared to be justified, and that she acted in self-defense. He said there are no plans to charge her.
Police said Thursday that neighbors had spotted Puentes' car in the neighborhood several days before the attack but did not report it. Puentes' estranged wife told Kavanaugh he had been arrested for burglary in Johns Creek in December.